Analysis | Is banning TikTok bad policy? Some US officials think so. (2023)




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Is Banning TikTok Bad Policy? Some US officials think so.

For years, US lawmakers have been calling for the popular video-sharing app TikTok to be restricted or banned, citing alleged national security risks. But in recent weeks, several politicians have addressed an often unspoken concern: these measures may not go down well with voters.

Secretary of CommerceGina Raimondooffered an honest assessment of how the TikTok ban could reach votersBloomberg News-Interview. "The politician in me believes that he will lose literally every voter under the age of 35 forever," he said.


(Video) Will TikTok be banned? | DW News

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has led calls to ban the app, took offense on Wednesday, saying safety concerns are all that matters.

"If TikTok is bad for America... should the fact that it's popular with people under 35 be the reason we're not taking action?" Rubio asked during a Senate hearing on global threats to intelligence leaders.

"Not in my view," said the FBI director.Christopher A. Wray, OMSwarnedthat TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, is "crying out national security concerns."

Raimondo didn't seem to imply that political background should be a determining factor in discussions about TikTok, saying that other concerns like thefreedom of expression of users– must be difficult. "As much as I hate TikTok, and I do that because I see addiction on the bad side, which is for kids, you know, this is America," he said.


But the trade chief isn't the first US official to consider the political implications of a potential ban, as are those pushing for tighter restrictions.

2020 the PresidentDonald Trumpinitially threatened to ban TikTokto operate in the United States but eventually tried to force ByteDance to sell the app to an American buyer. (The orders encountered legal obstacles in court and were later overturned byPresident Biden.)

like my colleagueszog HarwelljElizabeth Dwoskin reported October, political considerations influenced this call, which came just weeks before the presidential election.Selection.

"Trump ultimately decided not to ban TikTok before the 2020 election after seeing internal polls that suggested the move would hurt his standing with suburban youth and mothers," they wrote, citing a former Trump official. Counselor who spoke on condition of anonymity subject. Object. Conversations.


Voice speaker Tik TokBrooke Oberwettersaid in a statementearlier this weekthat "the US ban on TikTok is a ban on exporting American culture and values ​​to over a billion people who use our service around the world."

Together, the data points offer a rare glimpse of how public opinion can inform conversations about how to control the app, which is hugely popular with younger users.

Polls are providing mixed results on the extent to which voters support a TikTok ban.

AJuly 2020 survey conducted by Morning Consultfound that the public was largely divided over the ban, with 29% in favor of it, 33% opposed and 38% undecided. But oneAugust 2020 poll conducted by Harris PollNoting that a majority of Americans support a possible ban, and aDecember poll Rasmussen Reportsfound that a majority of voters support federal legislation banning TikTok.


(Video) Ban TikTok? | Bloomberg Technology 01/26/2023

However, some of the findings appear to follow Raimondo's comments closely: Morning Consult's July 2020 poll found that opposition to the TikTok ban was much stronger among younger users, with 59% agreeing. Gen Z and 47% of millennials opposed it.

The surveys, which focus on adults, also miss out on most teenagers, the vast majority of whom use the app, according to an August 2022 surveyPew Research Center.

The findings could provide a test case for political messaging strategies focused on attacking TikTok's ties to China, which have become particularly pervasive among Republican officials.

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House Republicans help Musk against FTC

A months-long investigation into Twitter's privacy practices by the Federal Trade Commission has drawn the ire of House Republicans, who are fueling allegations that the agency is targeting the company now that it's ownedElon Musk, my colleagueGato Zakrzewski reports.


“This investigation has consequently been expandedElon Musk's as former employees warned that major departures of key employees could result in the company being unable to honor privacy agreements it has reached with the FTC," he wrote. Republicans now argue that the agency is "using its uses privacy investigations to thwart Musk's absolutist views on free speech on Twitter, a notable example of liberal hyperbole," Cat wrote.

Chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the House of RepresentativesJim Jordan(R-Ohio) earlier this week released an 18-page report containing excerpts of letters sent to Twitter by the FTC accusing the agency of Chairwoman Lina Khan of "organizing an aggressive campaign to harass Twitter" and the company to be inundated with lawsuits. In a Twitter thread on Wednesday, the FTC spokesmanDouglas FarrarHe said the FTC's investigation was "straightforward and apolitical."

TikTok gives new impetus to dispel European data concerns

TikTok on Wednesday announced new security measures for European user data to avoid increased government scrutiny abroad, the Associated Press said.Kelvin Chan reports.


(Video) Is TikTok a THREAT?

"TikTok will strengthen access to user data in a process overseen by external auditors and strengthen privacy," the report reads.

Teo Bertram, the company's vice president of government relations and public policy in Europe, said in a blog post that they are trying to create "a secure enclave for European TikTok users' data."

In recent weeks, the European Union's Executive, Parliament and Council have banned use of the app on government devices, following similar bans in Canada and the United States.

Senators: Changes to Section 230

A bipartisan group of senators said at a hearing on Wednesday that support is growing for the overhaul of the tech industry's liability protections, the latest warning for Silicon Valley companies, CNNBrian Funreports.

"Here's a message for Big Tech: Reform is coming," the senator said.Richard Blumenthal(D-Conn.). “I cannot predict what will happen in the coming weeks or months. But if you listen, you will hear a growing consensus and a demand from the American public that we must act nonpartisan."


According to the report, "Legislators on both sides commended the Supreme Court for considering Section 230 when challenging González v. Google, a case over whether YouTube can be sued for suggesting videos algorithmically created by terrorists to users. ... But the senators said that whatever the court's decision, it's up to Congress to rewrite the law so members of the public can present platforms to the courts and hold them accountable.

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